WOOK-TV Television Production Facility Property History and Evaluation
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Type of Work73 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
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I chose the WOOK-TV television studio building as the subject of my Historic Property Documentation paper. WOOK-TV was the nation’s first African American television station. My basic research strategy began with a general internet search (Google) and a targeted website search of the Washington, D.C. State Historic Preservation Office, the National Register of Historic Places, and World Cat Classic through the Goucher Library, for information on WOOK-TV. When beginning any paper, I cast a wide net to help identify both dead ends and further avenues of inquiry. In this case, I did not find any books or articles specifically written about WOOK-TV, or information in either the state or federal historic registers, but it I did find local repositories of information about WOOK-TV in the special collections at the Washington, D.C. Public Library and archived at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D.C. The library files and the museum archives helped me to narrow the focus of my research to two main sources: local newspapers and a trade journal for radio and television broadcasting. Through those two sources, I was able to reconstruct a history of WOOK-TV, including specific information about the studio and the station’s staff and programming. While World Cat Classic did not yield specific information on WOOK-TV, it was an excellent source for general information on the history of television. Using the Goucher Library’s Inter-Library Loan system, I was able to gather references to provide the context for evaluating WOOK-TV’s significance and eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Through my research, I learned that when a subject lacks a published body of work, the best sources for specific information are often local libraries and archives, while the online resources collected on the Goucher Library website are good for locating broad historical references.